Siebel looks to midmarket to bolster revenues

Looking to hit a market sweet spot coveted by many vendors, CRM software giant Siebel Systems is launching a new program that will cater to small to midsize businesses (SMB) in a bid to help it boost its flat revenues.

The vendor Tuesday announced a new strategy that includes working closely with value-added partners to better penetrate the SMB marketplace. There are an estimated 15 million SMBs worldwide, of which only perhaps 2 percent have implemented CRM software.

That makes this market the "Holy Grail to go after," Bruce Cleveland, senior vice president of SMB and OnDemand at Siebel, said during a news conference.

However, there are unique requirements when selling to the under US$500 million companies, which often prefer to do business at a local level, with a vendor that is literally in their geographical region. To overcome the resource restraints this would impose on Siebel, the vendor is launching an extensive partnering program, and internally, it has created territory managers to oversee the partners' efforts.

Siebel plans to do most of its selling through these partners, who will receive marketing resources, training and customer leads. The territory managers will work with the partners to help close deals with customers and oversee their implementations to ensure success, Siebel officials said.

A couple of existing Siebel customers were enthused about the program.

While Siebel has provided adequate support thus far through its hosted offering, Susan Knox, vice president of marketing at eTelecare International, said she's glad to have a dedicated SMB team to help oversee her needs. The call center services provider runs Siebel OnDemand, and Knox said that as her business needs evolve, having dedicated resources such as a territory manager from Siebel, will allow eTelecare to get custom fixes as needed.

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